Milwaukee school wins free, potentially life-saving device in national competition

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- If your child goes into cardiac arrest, does their school have an AED? One Milwaukee school is now better equipped to handle that kind of emergency.

Students at Milwaukee's Woodland Elementary School on State Street know a lot more about heart health, after winning a contest that got their school a free AED, or Automatic External Defibrillator. The machine can sense when a heart has stopped and shock it when needed

"Sudden cardiac arrest can happen anytime, and anywhere," said Allison Thompson, an administrator with Project ADAM.

Project ADAM selected Woodland's winning poster on heart health out of posters from schools across the country. Project ADAM stands for Automatic External Defibrillator in Adam's Memory, a program out of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. It is named after 17-tear-old Adam Lemel, a Whitefish Bay High School student who collapsed on the basketball court in 1999, and died. His school did not have an AED,

"When the heart has an electrical problem and the heart is quivering, an AED is the only thing that will fix that. CPR can help, but the AED is what is going to shock it back to normal rhythm," said Thompson.

The Milwaukee Fire Department did a walk through of Woodland school and they decided that right outside the office, would be the best place to put the AED because there will always be someone inside who is available and trained to use it.

"It is within 30 seconds of any location within the school building itself," said Ruth Biemann, the Operations Manager for Woodland Elementary on State Street.

Firefighters say using an AED can save a patient from brain damage.

"So those people come out of the heart event, without hardly any side effects whatsoever" said Assistant Chief Daniel Berendt with the Milwaukee Fire Department.

Now, when seconds count, the students at Woodland and the staff, will have the tool to handle the emergency. The Milwaukee Fire Department will train school staff on how to use the AED and how to do CPR. The fire department says most Milwaukee Public Schools are equipped with an AED.